The Fraxel laser has many strong points.  It has a track record of 10+ years now. Most offices who have it have a depth of experience with it, so fewer mistakes are made.  It’s generally safe and effective…….unless you have melasma.

What is the difference between Fraxel, Fraxel Dual and Clear & Brilliant which are all made and marketed by the same company?

Fraxels have mostly been replaced by the newer model the Fraxel Dual.  But ask your provider which they have.  The Fraxel just has one “head” the 1550nm and the Fraxel Dual has two heads, 1550nm and 1927nm.  What that means for you is that with the Dual you get the improvement in texture with the 1550nm plus you get improvement in pigmen with the 1927nm?

The Clear & Brilliant is a 1/2 energy Fraxel.  For example, we do a “Clear & Brilliant” treatment in our office with our regular Fraxel at 1/2 energy, and call it Fraxel Lite or Baby Fraxel.  Why do that?  Yes, the results are less, but there is almost no downtime, and some patients just can’t take time off work.  They do a series of lighter treatments.

Pros of Fraxel laser

  • It is helpful for maintenance and superficial collagen building for all ages.
  • Great (in a series of treatments) for superficial acne scarring and texture problems
  • Pigment caused by sun damage (not melasma).  If you’re not sure which you have, please see a dermatologist.
  • Good for superficial wrinkles, and fine lines
  • For early crepeyness around the eyes, there is an FDA approved eye tip.

Cons of Fraxel laser

  • Do not do Fraxel lasers, if you have melasma, unless your dermatologist is actively participating in your care.  It can make your pigment worse….much worse, if not done correctly.  They can help you with a pre and post treatment plan.
  • It doesn’t improve red, and may make it slightly worse while it’s healing.
  • It does not “tighten” skin.
  • Not effective for deeper wrinkles, deeper acne or surgery related scars.

*If you’re considering a Fraxel and have pigment/brown spots due to sun damage. Use a gentle plant based lightener, like this one, pre and post procedure for 2-4 weeks.

Hope this helps,

Dr. Brandith Irwin


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